It was Duke Kahanamoku more than anyone else who put Waikiki and the legendary Beach Boys on the map as Hawaii and Waikiki’s ambassador to the world. It all started with his stellar performance at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm where he swam away with a gold and silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle and free-style relay. Racking up more Olympic medals over the years, he simultaneously introduced Hawaiian-style surfing to Southern California, Australia and New Zealand.
Back home on the beach at Waikiki it was Duke and his brother who helped propel the legend of the Waikiki Beach Boys on to the world stage. They taught vacationers to surf and took them out for outrigger canoe rides through the surf. The Waikiki Beach Boy experience was birthed in conjunction with the newly opened Moana Hotel back in 1901. By the 1920’s The Waikiki Beach Boys had become legendary as gregarious hosts and entertainers embodying the hypnotic charm of the Aloha Spirit. Hollywood stars such as Bing Crosby, Carole Lombard, John Wayne, and Judy Garland fell under their spell. Probably the most legendary character was tobacco heiress Doris Duke, regarded as the world’s richest woman at the time, became an avid surfer because of her enchantment with the Beach Boys, and eventually purchased a home for Duke’s brother near her Diamond Head Estate. The wild and crazy days of the Waikiki Beach Boys settled down over the years, but they remain as a vital part of the magic allure for tourists from around the world who want to learn to surf or take a spin aboard an outrigger canoe.
Ted Bush, who’s family lineage dates to prehistoric times in the Hawaiian Islands, grew up on the beach at Waikiki in the 1950s and well remembers the legendary Beach Boys. Ted Bush and his daughter, Traci, continue the Waikiki Beach Boy tradition with their Waikiki Beach Services business on the seashore in front of the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider hotels. In addition to surfing lessons, they offer stand up paddling lessons, catamaran charter sails in addition to traditional outrigger canoe adventures and surfboard rentals. Come along and join Ted Bush as he talks about the Waikiki Beach Boy experience, past and present.
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